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A Nostalgic walk through the hectic streets of China in the visual essay by Marcin Plawnicki


Photographer, Marcin Plawnicki invites us to experience his nostalgic and melancholic photographs, capturing tiny moments of unity while surrounded by a hectic buzz of China’s biggest cities. See his photography and accompanying essay below.

Hong Kong crowds.
Sun/Shadow game with Dina.
One of an average residential building in Guangzhou.
Night food market in Nanning.

22nd Floor

Shanghai (24 mln), Taipei (7 mln), Hong Kong (7 mln), Guangzhou (14 mln), Nanning (7 mln), Hanoi (16 mln), Singapore (5,5 mln). Even if in each of these cities there is an unlimited amount of the new faces, I miss you while easily drifting away in melancholy. I am on my bed, on the 22nd floor, above another unknown city – this time a 7 million Nanning. I am wondering, what would happen if you were here with me. We would be passing by a countless number of sellers, who would only notice only our, foreign faces. We would be something new for them. Everything would be new and exciting for us – language, alphabet, food, architecture, details, tempo, and smell.

As I imagine, I can see us…On the first day, we can’t focus. After a few, we were able to adjust but still, everything seems to be unbelievable. Is this really happening? Are you here for real? I am immersing into my senses. I imagine as I lead you by a hand through, against the crowd of people.
We head to the massive Adidas Asia shop. Like tomorrow wouldn’t exist – I dress you in the craziest things I am able to find. I start with the salmon pink fur; you choose moon shoes by Alexander Wang. Everything fits you perfectly. From the street market, we pick gold and ocelot CUGCI hat, and after you slide it on your head, you make a cute Asian girl gesture. Afterward, we can shout whenever we want in any of the 5 languages we know, and none of them would be understood by the crowd.

If that would be true, and you would be here, we would come back on the 22nd floor above the 7 million Nanning, wondering, why we felt so special down there. Both of us, so one of the kinds.

I am changing the cities day after day, one after another. Each one unique and amazing, yet, they all have things in common. In each, city lights are lighting up the dusty sky making each room as bright, as during the daytime. Another one is noise, made up of millions of everyday tasks, which are overlapping, and only delicate, white noise can be heard on the 22nd floor. If you were here, we would fall asleep in a second. Would there be any difference on which floor are we? 22nd, 5th, 113th? Above the 7 million cities? Maybe above the city only both of us?

Before I hear the alarm, level zero is calling me. It has been awake the earliest, despite going to sleep too late. Down below, the city buzz can be heard from the early morning – the noise of deliveries, opened shops. Below the ground, you can hear the tube lines and thousand of pedestrians.

In 3 hours I am flying out, or I have a ferry or a train, to another city. I am leaving you here with everything I have learned and overcame. In the new place, I will fly with new excitement, new experiences, new skyscrapers, and million new faces, but maybe we will meet again on the new floor.

Marcin Plawnicki

The best thing about flying is no option to go back.
Hong Kong tram ride with Akiko
Nanning, 22nd floor.
Taipei light and shadow game. This city is famous for its advertising panels everywhere.
Hong Kong night skyline.
Hong Kong ferry terminal and the Curious Girl.

Read about Marcin and other talented artists in our newest OpenCall Mag.
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